Some Droughts are ‘Perfect.’ Here’s Why

A “perfect drought” happens when major sources of water all experience drought at the same time. It was behind California’s dry spell early last decade, and a new study shows they go back centuries.

Connie Woodhouse and David Meko, professors at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, found the most recent span of 100 years, when five perfect droughts hit California, was not unusual compared to past centuries.

Lower Colorado River Basin Can Still Expect Shortage Next Year

The Lower Colorado River Basin does not avoid a shortage in 2020 despite the plentiful snowpack on the Rocky Mountains this past winter. Why? Well, the new Drought Contingency Plan defines different “tiers” of shortage. The Lower Basin will not drop into a Tier One shortage next year because Lake Mead will almost certainly remain above 1,075 feet in elevation.  At the same time, Mead will likely remain under 1,090 feet. That triggers a Tier Zero shortage.


Bipartisan Drought Contingency Plan Legislation Coming To Congress ‘Very Soon’

A bipartisan agreement on Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) legislation has been reached and lawmakers plan to introduce it “very soon,” according to U.S. Sen. Martha McSally. State officials from the Colorado River watershed are in Washington D.C. this week. Along with Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, they appeared on Wednesday before the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power, which McSally chairs. The Drought Contingency Plan needs congressional approval before it can become law of the river. The plan includes incentives for users to keep water in Lakes Mead and Powell in times of “shortage.” In the lower basin, keeping Lake Mead above certain levels reduces the risk of it falling so low that no water can escape from it.

Why The Drought Contingency Plan ‘Deadlines’ Don’t Tell The Full Story

The last day of January looked like a banner day for Arizona’s water planning. State lawmakers had passed legislation authorizing Arizona to enter into an important deal. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bills almost immediately. “Working together with a common goal in mind, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. And today proves it,” he pronounced.

Arizona Climatologist: Recent Snow, Rain Likely Not Enough To Head Off Lake Mead Drought Declaration

There are still some snow-capped mountains ringing the valley after last week’s winter storm dropped rain and some snow in the metro Phoenix area — and record snowfall in Flagstaff. That city actually set a record for daily snowfall on Thursday with nearly 3 feet. Overall, Flagstaff got more than 40 inches of snow. So, has all that precipitation helped Arizona’s drought conditions at all? With me to talk about that is Nancy Selover, Arizona state climatologist. And Nancy let’s start there. Just how important was the rain and snow we got around the state to the drought conditions we’re in and have been in for years now?

Southern California Begins ‘Emergency Withdrawals’ From Lake Mead

There is a massive deadline looming for states that draw water from the Colorado River Basin — Arizona included. If an agreement on water use and conservation isn’t reached by Jan. 31, the federal government can step in and begin to make conservation decisions for the states. We’ve covered this story extensively on The Show with KJZZ’s Bret Jaspers, but now, there is another twist in it — this time out of California.

Water Managers Along Colorado River Figure Out How To Live With Less

Climate change is growing the gap between the river’s supply, and the demands in the communities that rely on it, including seven western U.S. states and Mexico. The federal government recently released proposals called Drought Contingency Plans designed to keep the Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs from falling to levels where water is unable to be sent through the dams that hold up Lakes Powell and Mead.